Ever catch the morning news while sipping on your coffee and see the latest and greatest health supplement or workout fad? “Cristina Aguilera Loses 25 Pounds in 4 Weeks… Find Out How, Now!” Grab the latest issue of your favorite fitness mag in the checkout line only to have another one you subscribe to show up in the mail the same day? You have 5 more at home where those came from and each one preaches, Do HIIT, Do Steady State Cardio, Do Both, Lift Weights, Do Yoga, Run, Don’t Run Dummy, you’ll Lose Muscle, and I could go on forever.
Next, you read that eating grains is the way to go, no wait… not eating grains is the way to go. Well, which is it? Don’t eat gluten, only eat organic, don’t eat carbs after 2:00pm… Ever stop to think, just for a moment, that there are many ways to get where your destination? No one way is best for everyone or every body type, so let’s stop playing follow the leader.
The fitness industry is a billion dollar business. From fancy equipment, gym memberships, supplements, online trainers and on and on, what do you do? I live a modified Paleo lifestyle. I’m not telling you to, it’s just what makes me happy and feel great. You need to find what is best for your body, no one else can tell you. It can be a bit of trial and error, but utilizing common sense is the best muscle to exercise first and foremost. I have a few simple suggestions to hopeful give you a bit of insight and reality.
Don’t just willingly follow fads, educate yourself on what it means to eat healthy for the longterm and not a quick fix. If a diet suggests you fast for extended periods of time, eat nothing but fruit, eat everything but fruit, hang from the ceiling until you puke your brains out, just STOP! Take a moment to ask yourself, can I really commit to this for an extended period of time (like for life) or does this really sound healthy for my body? If you have to question it, it is likely not the way you are going to lose weight. At least not in the long run without harming your health, teaching you unhealthy habits or gaining it all right back the moment you stop doing that particular gimmicky diet.
If you can not commit yourself 100% to something, it won’t work for you. If you think you are going to “be healthy” because you stayed on track all day and then rewarded yourself with food or alcohol, then guess what? You are in for a surprise! Picking at your kids plate, sneaking cookies, eating more servings than you should or any other little hidden habits you may have, will all hinder your progress. If you want to get results, you must COMMIT! Do it for yourself and be honest about it. It can be a very difficult thing to begin the process of changing your lifestyle, but with support from others, you can do it. Which leads me to the next tip…
If you begin this journey with a spouse or friend, you can help hold one another accountable. A gentle nudge from someone with the same goals as you can help send you off in the right direction. The feeling of not wanting to let someone else down can help hold you accountable. When you reach your goals, you will appreciate to have had the support and it is reciprocated. You will show up for them and they will show up for you. If you do not have this support system, hire a trainer and they’ll provide the same benefit. Sometimes, the investment is enough to hold you accountable. Not wanting to waste your hard-earned money can be a great carrot to dangle.
If you have a deadline of next week to drop 10 pounds than you are nothing short of crazy. Drastic and unrealistic goals will have you doing drastic and unhealthy things to lose weight. Always consider your health in the long run before venturing off and doing something extreme. In many cases, if it actually works, you will gain the weight back immediately and then some. Worse yet, you may genuinely be endangering your health. Being healthy should be the goal, not just losing the extra pounds fast. A healthy mind aids in a healthy body. Be real and be smart!
Let’s face it, if you aren’t enjoying it, you will be far less inclined to stick with it. If you hate to run then no plan that has you running exclusively is going to get you to your goals any quicker. Be sure to include activities that you enjoy so you will look forward to being active and not just dreading “exercise”. Things such as group fitness classes may help to engage you or you may be more of a loner like me. I don’t play well with others and so I prefer to go it alone. Whatever your “thing” is, include it in your daily exercise so you will enjoy the process.
Since variety is the spice of life, we need variety when it comes to our fitness as well. Walking no the treadmill each and every day will get old quick. Include every sort of exercise that appeals to you to keep it fresh and keep your muscles guessing. Even if you are big into lifting weights, your muscles get acclimated pretty quickly. Changing up your techniques from hand position, performing drop sets, high reps, low reps, burnouts, supersets, compound movements, etc. will keep the muscle confused.